Peter O'Dowd photoKJZZ News Director Peter O’Dowd finds something alluring about Phoenix and public radio, as if they have always been a part of his destiny.

O'Dowd, who oversees all daily editorial direction of the KJZZ newsroom, took on the role of news director in February 2011, after serving as an assignment editor and reporter for the station since 2009.

There has been no shortage of adventure in his journalism career at KJZZ, which has taken him to Guatemala, Southern Mexico and along the entire U.S.-Mexican border.

Covering Arizona SB 1070 news has been one of the most exciting highlights in his career. Determined to provide KJZZ listeners with as many perspectives as possible, O’Dowd followed boycotters representing both sides, met with Latinos who favored the bill, visited churches that opposed it and spent months trying to find sources willing to talk about employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

O’Dowd was part of a KJZZ team that won a 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for continuing coverage of SB 1070. He has also received Associated Press awards for news writing and several Public Radio News Director Inc. awards.

O’Dowd grew up in Phoenix and graduated from Brophy College Prep in 1999.  He then attended Georgetown University to pursue an undergraduate degree in English. With diploma in hand, O’Dowd decided to teach English in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. Looking back, he notes, “It was the most thrilling year of my life.” It was also one that eventually sparked an interest in serving as an international journalist. 

When he returned from Japan, he began working for the Peoria Independent.  “I almost enrolled in graduate school to get my MFA in creative writing, but quickly realized I enjoyed telling true stories for a newspaper more than fiction.” 

With that, O’Dowd set his sights on pursuing a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University.  His introduction to public radio came about almost by accident. 

“I took a two-week class on radio basics. I went around New York recording the sounds of bustling street vendors, college marching bands, and then wrote up short stories that were completely empty of news. All of a sudden, the medium opened up to me, so I decided to change my focus to radio journalism.  I often think about how that decision changed my career and my life.”

In 2007, O’Dowd moved to Wyoming to report on classic Western issues like oil, coal and wolves  for Wyoming Public Radio and realized he had found his niche. 

“I believe public radio journalism is the most compelling of any medium. When I’m reporting a story for the radio, I look for emotion in my interviews. Over the radio, grief and anger, fear and embarrassment can be felt in a way that is mostly absent from print journalism.”

Contact Peter O’Dowd at 480-774-8463, podowd@rioradio.org or by way of Twitter @odowdpeter.

 

Title Publication Date
Lester Pearce faces ethics charges September 27, 2012
Planners submit wishlist for Mexico trade September 25, 2012
Grand Canyon University goes east September 21, 2012
Seniors fill new urban housing developments September 18, 2012
ASU enrollment surges past 73,000 September 13, 2012
Western US incomes drop 4 percent September 12, 2012
Phoenix to revamp ethics policies September 10, 2012
Sky Harbor janitors ask for respect September 04, 2012
Feds drop criminal probe against Arpaio August 31, 2012
U.S. Commerce Department promoting cross-border trade August 29, 2012
Election drama set for primary August 27, 2012
Allegiant to fly from Mesa to Hawaii August 21, 2012
'An oasis' of safety on the first day of school August 20, 2012
State could get more transportation money from feds August 17, 2012
How do you cope with the heat wave? August 14, 2012
Report: Urban growth to raise temperatures August 13, 2012
GPEC protests US solar tariff on China July 26, 2012
ASU to streamline financial aid letter July 24, 2012
HIV-AIDS expert: 'We're on the verge of a medical solution' July 23, 2012
'Serial Shooter' asks court for execution July 17, 2012
County offers a 'boost' to prep for new law July 13, 2012
Arizona lawmakers stick to party lines in health care vote July 12, 2012
Voters to consider change to state's primary elections July 06, 2012
Southbound SR 143 to connect to Sky Harbor Boulevard July 05, 2012
Death row inmate gets new execution date June 12, 2012

Pages